Monday, June 8, 2015

Charles Pellegrini

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Charles Henri Pellegrini (1800-1875), born in France, was a talented sketch artist at an early age, and his drawings earned a prize while he was still in primary school. He enrolled at the University of Turin and later at the Ecole Polytechnique, near Paris, where he earned an engineering degree.

He was contracted as an engineer by a prominent Spanish Argentine merchant and he arrived in Buenos Aires in 1828. He took a post in the Hydraulic Engineering Department. The bureau, however, was decommissioned in 1829 by order of the Governor of Buenos Aires.

He received numerous contracts as an engineer and architect. The most notable of his works in this latter field was the Colon Theatre. The 2,500 seat opera house, inaugurated in 1857, would be the largest in Argentina until the inaugural of the modern Colon Theatre in 1908.

He published a volume of poetry in his later years. His eldest son, Carlos Pellegrini, was elected Vice President of Argentina in 1886, and became President in 1890. Many of his watercolours are housed in the National Museum of Fine Arts.